Chairman of the Integrity Commission Ken Gordon has said “integrity is a way of life and a living commitment to do the right thing in all circumstances and at whatever personal cost.”
He made this comment at the launch of the 3rd annual Primary and Secondary Schools 2013 “Do Right Champions” at Queen’s Hall, St Ann’s, yesterday. Its theme was The Do Right Champions Doing The Right Thing Is Always in Style. The mission is to promote an understanding of integrity and the behaviour it engenders with our nation’s youth. Participants were invited to submit poems, artwork, short stories and essays.
Among those present were motivational speaker Dr Jennifer Rouse, director-Division of Aging, Ministry of the People and Social Development, school supervisor Cheryl Wilkinson, Janelle Holloway, manager Product Management First Citizens and Integrity commissioner Dr Shelly-Anne Lalchan.
Gordon defined integrity for the pupils: “The word combines qualities of truth, character, consistency and principled behaviour and cannot exist in the absence of strong personal discipline.”
Gordon said: “So much remains to be done. I am assured our building generation is up to the task. You are the future and you must increasingly learn to respect and love unapologetically. Your role in promoting integrity is an important part of nation building.
“Integrity represents a way of life which many talk about but few live, even in our extraordinarily talented society and at the highest levels.”
Cognizant of peer pressure, Gordon added: “My young friends, it is not uncommon for you to try to do the right thing to be ridiculed and even harassed by schoolmates who have found life to be so much easier when they make their own rules. Many who play that game are forced to learn the hard way and after much pain. That’s why we are delighted by your presence and seek to emphasise integrity’s importance.”
As his discourse wound up, Gordon paid tribute to Pet-Joe Caines, a Sea Lots resident/pupil from Belmont Government Secondary for displaying integrity by returning a wallet he found. His teacher Carina Henry-Carrington came in for kudos.
Led by troop leader Gregorie Lee King, St Mary’s pupils Andrew Mitchell, Damian Clarke, Kristian Harris and Jonathan Joseph were commended for rescuing a drowning woman from the Matelot sea.
Rouse said: “How sweet to be young again. Innocence.”
But she reminded them “youth’s a stuff that doth not endure.”
Thus it was important to lead a productive life from youth to senescence (old age). “Create an enabling environment that is supportive. Challenge yourself. Ask questions. Pace yourself. Respect the elderly. Develop a sense of integrity, responsibility and pride.”
Wilkinson said “Good citizenship is not tested because it is not part of the curriculum. But the onus on the pupils was to prepare to be better citizens. Do the right thing.”